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Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

After ten years of two digit growth, e-business showed an awesome way for innovation, and promised another smart theme for the future with mobile web. Some smiled and some cried. New pure players found gold and the philosophical stone, brick and mortar stared as if fever was on, and some other retailers tried to play with web, finding a complementary way to mix retail and online. But before this maturity in mindset, pure players set up evil, in old traditional retail business…and drove to large layoffs in the industry. Not really sexy is it?

And the least all the e-business innovation could do, was feed another story for retail, increasing traffic, targeting, consumption, accuracy in needs and shopping and so on. It seems the time has come, with so many initiatives, web or mobile, to help retail in the “new shape” of modern business.

Let’s take a snapshot of the awesome changes and opportunities that could be offered to retail, with mobile innovations. Several parts of the value chain can be shifted as:

  • the battle for information: ability to check any product, scan online and find your personal shop, with relevance, perspicacity
  • the battle for loyalty with the incredible passion for virtual wallets, saving points from consuming, winning vouchers enforcing the loyalty of customers, from an online sign up to a loyalty program. A smart way to increase consumption in retail, directly from web sessions
  • the battle for promotion and traffic, boosted with the geolocalization of both, customer and offer, enhanced the purpose debate and lead customers back to retail
  • the incredible dilemma for choice, is turned into a game with the social shopping sessions that make fun with comparing, chatting and targeting together, for a focused “buying raid” to the most relevant retailer of the place
  • the whole noise before, while and after the buying act, that makes “buying” an event in itself: dealing with fashionistas, bloggers, influencers is a full win-win combination for pure pleasure

Right now, some players cope with the whole thing with talent, relevance and friendiness. I would suggest to take a look at some of them, while they are known to drive traffic and give back to retail what the Internet has probably hijacked for a moment. Check at sites like:

  • Shopsocially, Addoway, Blippy or Buy.com
  • Pikaba, Givvy, Shopcade, Shopwithit or Buyosphere
  • myShopanion

They bring new innovation in the sale surface, allowing customers to:

  • try before buy
  • socializing between other customers and vendors
  • while walking on sale surface, ability to know best promotions, comparing and prices, close around the shop
  • sometimes consulting a screen instead of using vendor’s service: more educated, self-skilled and well informed, the social media environment allows to bring more transparency to the whole chain
  • get in touch with crafts, completing the online experience of “colors” and chatting with vendors about products, new arrivals and “fitting”: social calls social. Sales and retail are definitely a social experience, moreover than online, probably more transactional than relational in fact.
  • Share, talk and guide until the good choice (place+price+promotion+offer): the experience, experienced by others

No need to say that screen invaded us more in the house than in retail first, but then the whole chain of “screening” is played before, while and getting to retailers’ places. The long tail for learning social media empowers all the actors for this new kind of capturing attention, figures and profiles, and raising loyalty in the end.

“Revenge” could be done if retailers integrate more and up, the screens and online features, in their communication strategy to bring new services and convince (at least), own customers to shift so. But means that vendors are trained and prepared to let these new tools sometimes help, sometimes replace few parts of their jobs. Diversity functions with humans and I guess with the hybrid ability to cope with machines too, bringing on the best for all and synergy back in between retail and web.

One thing is sure is that, despite equipment, we need to think and imagine all the best experiences for customer, and do it in our times. And our times are definitely wired, connected and social. As one said, “customer may be a media” now…

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Last part of three set, considering the outputs/outcomes on resources, driven by a “always-on” society, with:

  • raising loyalty and sensibility to more information, messages and requests
  • searching for trust and truth, in this ocean of crowded “social” advertising: how to cope with it to build a strong “wired” reputation
  • the effects on production cycle, wastes and ability to modelize business before it runs: a real opportunity to change minds, process and get the best results overall
I’ve already posted something on it, linking loyalty and mobility with the wealth of being “targetable”, on the run…or not. The “SoLoMo” concept since then ran and seems to grow up every day. Seeing how the Groupon, KGBDeals, LivingSocial or whatever, recruited as members and notoriety, can now get in building local deals in keeping a huge community of deal hunters. The increase of interest for these models, even if the future is not really clear about their cash and resources needs, seems to grow. they just have now to find the great balance with retailers they ad for and in the revenue sharing…But for the customer, the output is clearly fair: getting in the best plan for any service, each day. The likeliness and accessibility of the anytime, anywhere, any device process generate most fans and successfull outcomes.
The other part, leading to valuable outcomes seems to be the transparency and truth, required in business. And according to more reputation, guided by social commerce and recommandation, it may be the next core key required by connectivity environment. The more you are targeted, the more you need to get the head of the basket to sort all the sollicitations: good or bad ones…The market of “reputation”, and the advising included in this whole wave just starts and make this wired situation more interesting yet: getting the good clues with local/social in searching for customer experiences, tips and promotions. Foursquare for example, turned gaming and tips, because the feature of “only” checking is not sufficient enough now: time is for adding content (tips, twits, recommendation…), making the live moment more “live”, realistic and valuable for the network fellows. The whole value for network is supposed to be the square of its number, that means that somehow value is brought by any people in a balanced part. And information is value now, because scarcity and results from the sharing of it, gives a large potential of consumption. Give good reputation in a network means that value included inside any member may value the whole set.
But that’s not all: digital settlements and features mean deep changes in design, production and sampling. The tremendous abilities to get a modelized result before launching a whole production run leads to a better fine tuning in building offers, services and products. We called so much “test markets”, when we had abilities to run short cycles and produce samples to collect some consumers’ opinions, but being always wired allows us to get one step before: drawing and having models, with true reality, without launching the whole production. Getting returns from teams, cross functionnal trials and other samples increase the “pre-production” knowledge and facilitates corrections, last minute changes and includes feedback. Imagine only on the movie industry, what gives such technologies on cost reduction, allowing 3D modelization to build scripts, scents, scenariis with the ability to show “complete shots”, without any effort…
Anything we share, talk or stare about now, is on the uphold of digital processes and needs to be stared with brand new vision, that unchains any abilities and free our mindsets. What’s the frontier of our imagination? Guess it’s not been invented yet, and needs new ways of thinking, even in the necessary approach to be found. But I think the challenge is awesome and valuable, as a trip with the unknown, considering the deep well of opportunity facing us. Mc Luhan wrote about the concept of global village many years ago, drawing at that time a warning for any generation to come. But the real question is not “how far is global, this village” but “where are the disrupt trends that are available and change the way we think, create, build and deliver“…The challenge is waiting for anyone of us.

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Loyalty is in the end a very important part of the value of any relation. Build a trusty system means years of taming and needs lots of efforts and demonstration on how you can deliver promises, and keep them alive in a long term. This concept stands with any part of modern communication and relation and rise with it. We can quote “loyalty calls loyalty”, when we see that the most loyals subjects do, because they like and spread it. While we’re facing a big shift in the way brands speak to targeted customers and drive their whole relation, customer could be considered as less “loyal”. Because of his mobility, he becomes less “catchable”, I mean in advertising terms, underlining the new technologies that keep him alive “on” with the brand: mobile devices. The way we look at customers intentions and try to catch his “brain awareness” changes. In fact, could mobile be an awesome opportunity to enhance loyalty or a silent threat to lose audience?

The mobile facts: some figures worth more than long talks…(source: ITU)

  • more than 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world
  • nearly 1 billion has access to 3G services
  • mobile networks access: more than 90% of global population and 80% in rural zones
  • already thinking of 4G networks, increasing speed and services
  • web access will overtake PC and domestic devices (wired), within 5 next years
  • 450 millions users on web mobile, end of 2009 (IDC)

This “jack-in-the-box cumulated figures” means that any people on earth (nearly…) can receive a simple message from any brand that wants to catch him…got it? Hate or like? Chance or fear? I think everybody will (have to) find rules and own behavior and reaction with this new environment…

The Loyalty goodness

Loyalty seems to be an actual goal for everyone: brands, couples, retail, habits…Why? Because it costs far less to nurture and care an “established situation” with uses and automatic behaviors, than draw, seduce and attract new ones. True for customers, new comers, new process…and new husband/wife. Now living in a always wired era drives us to more “online” behaviors, acquired to lots of any information. These new habits mean that we’re more demanding about brand communication and customer care, even if we’re not customer yet. This eco-system, self-feeding situations seems to find a regulation with user generating content, added by any citizen, in mobile situation. The more we are touched by mobile communication, the more we’re in fact, tied softly to brands, increasing our silent loyalty and attachment to companies. Loyalty is key for long term forecasts and ongoing business models, that can improve portfolios for brands.

What we see is a necessary change on how you target customers: awareness is not captured like any other situation and needs accuracy, what I see: bad moment for a SMS is a dead-born message…Life duration of a SMS and our ability to use it is in fact, few seconds…snatch for catch is the real art and skill of mobile communication. Even with PDA spreading everywhere, majority is often limited in size, shape and kind of message your mobile device can manage. Intrusion is as bad as choose a bad moment to send your message: as mobile is personal, you can’t be wrong with your target. Any disruption between the message and the profile of the targeted customer and you will have a storm against you: the action will give you the exact upset situation for the brand…So be careful. Last but not least, “personal” means directly linked to the individual and you can pledge for mistake or misunderstanding, or hide behind bulk message: you are supposed to engage conversation and give arguments, if the customers speaks to you…as an individual people.

Virality is a perfect territory of expression to spread loyalty. But no pain, no gain. Spread loyalty in fact means no more but no less than spread trust, through your customers…So they engage them in a risk they were not obviously prepared to assume, and will shame you if you betray and show them, they were wrong to do so…Absolutely disappointed. For a long time. All your efforts blowed in a single SMS…? That worths to think twice before act…Mobile tagging (stickybits, u snap, shop savvy…), geolocalization (foursquare, plyce, gowallah, tellmewhere, waze…) are so cute ways to follow you (without being too intrusive first…) and hold the link and relation between a brand and a customer. A personal and mobile one.

The independance riot

Lots of things, reactions and strange behaviors told us in history to care about machines control…This holy link for brands can quickly become a nightmare for customers, because being in mobility means sometimes a moment of serenity and  is particularly “my moment”. Do I like to be disturbed? It may transform our attitude in a sharp reaction, the “action-reaction” of throwing away all our good intentions and thoughts about the so called “friend” brand. Do we want “independance” or do we like to be plugged “all-wired” entity? Are we supposed to be en “engaged consumer” at all prices and times, where does our engagement start and end, as any sign of further involvement means we do accept, assume (like?) the ongoing phenomenia of being followed with our cute device, as a personal spy, shouting more and more commercials…

This schizophrenic question and dilemma may drive to bunch of protestants fence, leading to a community riot, boycotting brands and company, products and attitude. By doing this, “Lots lost lots”, underlines the surgerical need to be very careful about the final goals and uses of mobile opportunities. Remember independance drove people to blogs, forums and parallel sources of information, where trust can be refound. And I think it’s dangerous to lose with impulsive actions, trust you spent months to build. Moreover when it’s for sales matters and start to be boring with the mobile target, that just wanted to go apart from the “promotion noise”…

Human is anything else than an independant and rarely wants to be linked, promised, as he never asked for. But being opti§n doesn’t mean everything is allowed though: like the butterfly effect, a small SMS can raise a viral revolution…

Drawing the necessary conclusions

Nothing is really grave or irreversible in fact. We have what we ask for, when we see such passion for mobile devices, it must be important for us not cut the link with anything…And remember there’s a switch off that can resolve conflicts and harassment. Use it anytime it’s necessary…Brands too, sometimes switch off, when you have some claims on the way…

 

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A short report to make facts and statements about what we can consider as a real innovation in TV, not in the contents itself, but in the new way people could watch it. Even if we can be full of scepticism regarding our ability/likeness to watch a great blockbuster or sport event in a too small screen, reality makes the dream, in some uses, true. But how deep?

Yes, we have some contents really developped for mobile, yes we have devices more and more cute (Iphone and wider screens for example). We have probably potential consumers generation Y and youngest can mix their instability and skills to do lots of things in mobility situation, and stay in fashion and hype lights with such stuffs. The idea itself, in bulk’s mind, traces its own way. And past major actors in TV – contents and broadcast -, believe maybe in a strong growth potential, that could make them always powerful and protected from nightmares.

mobiletv

See below some elements of 2007 survey by iresearch.com…Too early?

Reading about last IDATE survey about mobile TV, let’s shout some cruel points, that make reality now, of a growing model we see, with no arriving target yet, in the ability to raise profits, in a sustainable period.

It seems all the movers in around the mobile tv business, could not find the rulebook to make, for sure, profits in a long term area. No business model has been revealed, nor proofs about the value chain in the same time. Talking about fans of free models or relevant of paying fees prayers, nobody can find a model that works, in the fact it’s a foggy market…lost in the forest of majors interests, actors, and not the least, uses…Who can let from here to eternity, his usual tv behaviors?

Talking about selling prices, saying what the final consumer expected to accept to pay (between 8-10$ a month), this could not be much comparing to fixed costs and investments costs to supply the service. Talking about free models, regarding to financing by ads revenues, experts say that it’s obvious a potentially huge market but increasing commercial success but not profits, so far…As we can see, it’s a fighting place between editors (tv channels) and operators (broadcast, wires), and the best would be a strong partnership, that could divide the costs, and share them according to each business model. When will it appears? No body can’t really say it, because no bulk signal from consumers has been confirmed yet, waiting so far, prices and uses, according to “users centrics” behaviors.

TV screen can still make us dream and mobile can make us giving the voice.

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